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3 - Student-Athlete Contact and Policy Support

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 July 2023

James N. Druckman
Affiliation:
Northwestern University, Illinois
Elizabeth A. Sharrow
Affiliation:
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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Summary

This chapter focuses on the possibilities for pursuing change toward gender equity policy from the bottom up. Women are targeted beneficiaries of the gender equity initiatives (and therefore we expect their support to be relatively high); however, they comprise only 43 percent of student-athletes. Stronger majority coalitions thus require obtaining the support of male student-athletes. We theorize one route to coalitions via interpersonal contact. We build on the enormous extant literature on contact to identify conditions under which male student-athletes may become more supportive of policies for marginalized female student-athletes. These include when men understand the plight of the marginalized group (women) and when they trust the policymaking institutions (colleges and the NCAA). We argue that interpersonal contact is a mechanism by which the first condition is met. We provide clear evidence for our predictions with observational and experimental data. However, we also find that the sex-segregated institutions of college sports prevent significant contact between women and men, thereby vitiating the likelihood of such a coalition emerging to pursue change from the bottom up.

Type
Chapter
Information
Equality Unfulfilled
How Title IX's Policy Design Undermines Change to College Sports
, pp. 67 - 104
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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